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JTC Academy Programming

Overview of Program for Both JTC East and JTC West

JTC Academy is a non-public special education therapeutic day program located in the Southern Region of Illinois. JTC Academy has approval from both Illinois and Missouri to accept students from school districts in these states.

Purpose and Scope of Program


To provide an alternative placement that provides academic, therapeutic and transitioning services to youth that have been suspended, placed in juvenile detention centers, jail and other placements. 

To give youth a chance to learn the skills and acquire the tools necessary to turn past negative experiences into future success stories by focusing on the strengths of our youth, building on these strengths to improve their self-esteem, self-worth and overall view of a positive and successful future.

To provide appropriate transitioning skills to empower students to find their future through the use of real tools to build real skills

• To provide working experiences as well as teaching youth the importance of earning and managing money the correct way through hard work and discipline.

• To teach youth that they have a vast amount of positive choices and how one bad choice can lead to long-life, drastic consequences

• To teach anger reduction 

• To open doors to youth that have not been successful in other placements .

To provide support for students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through communication supports such as the empirically supported techniques of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), visual supports, Sensory Integration (SI) and Facilitated Communication. Academic supports are accessed through the tenets of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and various cognitive learning strategies that complement the curricula offered at JTC Academy;

• To assist in maximizing successful reintegration to lesser-restrictive educational settings and/or post-secondary transition, to the extent appropriate for each individual student.


• The JTC Academy Team utilizes a strength-based approach that is individualized to the individual student’s needs. We help youth recognize, identify and utilize their inherent strengths, skills, and talents and build from there.


• Through appropriately licensed teachers, we provide various modes of academic delivery, mainly through technology-driven teaching practices or a hands-on project based approach to learning new and challenging material

• We provide on-site jobs, community based internships, transportation to and from work sites and job coaches to assist with job transitioning

• We provide extra-curricular opportunities such as team sports to allow for our students to learn social skills while becoming an active and productive member of a team

• We provide effective educational strategies supported by evidence and research and used with fidelity so that teaching supports student learning and achievement. 

• We use evidenced-based practices to plan, create and implement with fidelity our program BTPs (Behavior Treatment Plans). The program’s BTPs are aligned with the IEP’s behavior intervention plan (BIP) for students in our program that have BIPs listed in their IEP. The behavior treatment plan is utilized all day by staff to support each youth individually, record using tracking sheets, and revise as needed.

  • We implement evidenced-based practices with fidelity by using various tracking measures such as our SWIS system, BIFs (Behavior Intervention Forms) and our Point and Level system to track and refine our practices.

Instructional Approaches

OHI, SLD, and ED

Students diagnosed with OHI, SLD, and ED are provided with both pre and post assessments to determine individual style and current level of academic instruction for both reading and math. Students are then provided with various teaching methods and activities to address the learning styles and levels identified in these assessments. Hands-on activities and projects, web based instruction, individualized online courses, community access exploratory trips, and transitional activities are a few of the methods and activities offered at JTC Academy. For high achieving youth having difficulty with social, emotional and behavioral regulating, online courses and dual credit opportunities are available. Progress monitoring in academics and behavior is mandatory and required by teachers for all students attending JTC Academy.

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with communication limitations are provided additional communication supports such as the empirically supported techniques of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), visual supports, Sensory Integration (SI) and Facilitated Communication. Academic supports are accessed through the tenets of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and various cognitive learning strategies that complement the curricula offered at JTC Academy. JTC Academy now has an ABA consultant that consults with our staff on ABA strategies and interventions to utilize with students diagnosed with ASD.

Students Needing 1:1 Aide Support

Students with a 1:1 aide in their IEP may be accepted at JTC. When accepted, the student will qualify for the intensive code that allows for 1:1 support. The 1:1 support allows for an individual paraprofessional to be assigned to the student to assist with maintaining focus, remaining on-task, transition between activities both inside and outside the classroom and other assistance as needed to maximize success in IEP goals and other school wide goals and requirements. Incidents of behavior/safety & and independence requiring 1:1 assistance will be documented by the team. Once the team has determined significant student progress has been made; 1:1 assistance will be phased out. The team will continue to monitor and assess student behavior until it is determined that 1:1 assistance is no longer warranted

                                                 JTC Classrooms                                                                

Disability Eligibility Categories and Age Range

Approved Eligibilities: LD, OHI, ID, ED and student diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Age Range: 5-21

150 Maximum Students, 75 at JTC East and 75 at JTC West

JTC East and JTC West Days in Session and Instructional Hours

Regular School Year Session

JTC Academy is in session 5 days per week from 8:00-2:45, 6 hours instructional, 30 minutes lunch/break and recess time and 15 minutes transitioning/passing.

A regular school year for JTC Academy, will consist of 186 days

ESY-Summer School (Students Qualifying for ESY per IEP)

In Session 5 days Per week for 25 days from 8:00-1:00, 125 total hours

Classroom Structure at JTC East and JTC West

Each classroom has an LBS-1 licensed teacher. Each teacher teaches students in grades that the teacher is licensed to teach. Classrooms are never larger than 10 students. The very minimum ratio is 10 students to one LBS-1 teacher and 1 Licensed Paraprofessional. Classrooms may at times also have 1-2 aides due to IEP 1:1 aide requirement or a programmatic need.

Students Accepted

Students with IEPs from school districts in Missouri and Illinois that show private day placement or through manifestation determination

Students with documented long-standing disturbances as a result of abuse, neglect, extreme violence, and abandonment in areas of family and/or surrogate family functioning.

Students having sexually problematic behaviors

Students having limited success in several less restrictive environments

Students that are a “Run Risk” (With high risk to harm self or others)

IEP Related Services Offered

* Speech and Language Therapy – Speech and Language Pathologist is on campus 2 times per week in order to meet each student’s IEP goals and objectives. The SLP services these minutes with youth individually for the time frame specified in the IEP.

* Occupational Therapy – Occupational therapist is on campus once per week for those students that have OT goals as part of their IEP. The OT services these minutes with youth individually for the time frame specified in the IEP.

* Group and Individual Counseling – JTC Academy has 6 full and part-time counselors to service all individual and group counseling goals and objectives for the time frames specified in the IEP of each youth receiving group counseling and/or individual counseling.

*ABA Consultants

Clinical Program Description

Clinical Model

JTC Academy firmly believes that all students can redeem themselves and turn past attitudes, beliefs and behaviors into positive, constructive, life-long successes. Our therapeutic supports, systems and practices stem from our belief in this statement as well as our commitment to teaching students the skills necessary both academically and socially to be on this path to succeed in everyday life. In combination with our supports, systems and practices, JTC Academy provides individual and group counseling by highly qualified Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPCs) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs) as designated in IEP while clinically defining issues and intervening through appropriate treatment planning.

Evidenced Based Practices

JTC Academy’s therapeutic program utilizes evidenced based practices and approaches to planning for and addressing various behavioral and mental health issues. JTC Academy counselors utilize Cognitive Behavior Therapeutic (CBT) techniques to address thought distortions and maladaptive behaviors, depression and anxiety. According to CBT, when youth understand their thinking patterns, they can then learn and use coping strategies to overcome self-defeating thought processes. In addition to CBT, our counselors have all received training and now practice ART (Anger Replacement Therapy) in group sessions to address the overwhelming issue of anger seen in our youth today. ART uses role-playing and the teaching of coping skills to address anger and aggression. With a focus on prevention, JTC uses CPI which is a program with proven strategies for safely defusing anxious, hostile, or violent behavior at the earliest possible stage. The main premise of CPI is to use noninvasive methods for managing disruptive and assaultive behavior in a way that is compatible with staff's duty to provide the best possible care.


JTC Academy applies the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) model with the understanding that school-wide behavioral expectations for all youth have to be in place and followed consistently. Our school-wide behavioral expectations are categorized under the umbrella of the 3Rs, Be Ready, Be Respectful and Be Responsible. All staff in the building contribute to positively reinforcing these behavioral expectations consistently in hallways, busses, classrooms and non-structured areas.

Behavior Treatment Plans             Point and Level System            Tracking and Data

In addition to our school-wide, universal expectations, our counselors use evidenced-based practices to plan, create and implement with fidelity each student’s Behavior Treatment Plan (BTP) which are in place program-wide and support individualized behavioral and social expectations for each student in the program. The behavior treatment plan (BTP) utilizes each youth’s social history including information from previous youth placements such as residential treatment facilities, department of corrections, DCFS and outpatient treatment facilities. Combining this social history with the goals and objectives of the BIP listed in the student’s IEP and with any other anecdotal information creates a plan that is comprehensive and core to our clinical program. This comprehensive plan is then utilized all day by all staff, to support each youth individually while tracking and recording behaviors, providing reinforcements both positive and negative, and utilizing the information gained to update and revise the plan as needed.
Through our schoolwide universal behavior expectations and individual behavior treatment plans, we utilize a point and level system that allows youth who are positively adhering to these universal expectations and individual expectations as stated in his/her individual treatment plan to acquire points. Points are tracked for each student throughout the academic day and are added to determine the students’ daily levels that are then attributed to rewards and privileges. Points are then combined and factored in when deciding monthly phase advancement leading to student reintegration back to the home schools of our students. JTC Academy provides a “push in” model of therapeutic services from our counselors that include various levels of student support in the school milieu that include: classroom observations, individualized classroom support, psycho educational groups, and crisis response/management in addition to individual and group counseling provided through the IEP.
In order to ensure that our school-wide systems and behavior treatment plan practices are practiced with fidelity, we utilize our Behavior Intervention Form (BIF) system to track individual behaviors schoolwide, the SWIS system to track information from BIFs and UIRs, and finally we use our point and level documentation sheets to track our youth’s adherence to the universal expectations as well as his/her commitment to the individual treatment plan’s goals and objectives. All of this information is reviewed and checked for program fidelity. Measuring fidelity in both Individual and group therapy specifically is a little more challenging. However, our counselors administer the Conners Behavior Rating Scales (CBRS) upon admission to obtain a baseline for progress monitoring and again within 6 months to monitor progress. This information is then utilized to refine and adjust treatment plans.